How to update your Microsoft Outlook contacts from Gmail.
By David Pirog - Posted: May 20, 2014
And you're all done.
Can't get in to your Mac, because you forgot your password?
Follow these three easy steps to get back up and running.
By Tony Pirog - Posted: May 17, 2014
Using a pretty nifty trick you can reset a forgotten Mac password without a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD or any kind of boot drive or recovery partiton, and without having an Apple ID. This is basically the be-all and end-all approach if nothing else works, because it’s guaranteed to get you back into a Mac when the other options are not available, and it works in literally all versions of OS X. The steps may seem a little intimidating at first but I assure you it’s easy if you follow them exactly, here is how to do this in three stages:
Stage 1) Boot into Single User Mode and remove a setup file
- Restart the Mac holding down the Command+S keys, this will take you into Single User Mode and it’s Terminal interface
- You’ll need to check the filesystem first:
- Next, you must mount the root drive as writeable so that changes will save:
mount -uw /
- Now, type the following command exactly, followed by the enter key:
- After removing the applesetupdone file, you need to reboot, type ‘reboot’ and hit enter
Stage 2) Create a New User Account upon System Boot
You aren’t finished, but the hard part is now over – no more command lines, you’ll now be in the familiar Mac OS X GUI to finish the password reset process. In this step we just create a new user account as if you just got a new Mac:
- Upon reboot, you will be presented with the traditional “Welcome Wizard” startup screen just like when you first get a Mac
- Follow the welcome wizard and create a new user account – making the account name different from the account whose password you want to recover
- Continue on and boot into Mac OS X with this newly created user account, this new user account is an Administrator and has administrative access
Stage 3) Reset the Forgot Password via System Preferences
You are almost done, now you just need to reset the forgotten user account password using the Accounts control panel:
- Once you are booted into Mac OS X, click on the Apple logo and then navigate down to “System Preferences”
- Click on the “Accounts” icon in System Preferences
- Click on the Lock icon in the lower left corner of the “Accounts” preference window and enter the newly created user credentials, this enables you to change other user accounts and reset other users passwords
- On the left side user panel, select the user account containing the forgotten password
- With the user of the forgotten password account selected, click on the “Reset Password” button
- Enter a new password for that user, be sure to include a meaningful hint so you don’t forget it again!
- Close System Preferences and reboot the Mac
- You can now login to the previously inaccessible user account using the newly reset password! All user files and settings are maintained as before the password was forgotten
If you’d like, you can delete the temporary account you created to reset the users password. This is wise for security purposes.
Here’s how this works: by deleting the .applesetupdone file, you are telling Mac OS X to re-run the setup wizard, which by default creates a new user account with Administrative abilities, which can then reset the forgotten password of any other user on the Mac. This is a great trick and excellent troubleshooting technique if you don’t have a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD laying around, which is pretty much the norm as many people tend to lose or misplace the installer disks that come with their computers. We have used this technique to restore various Macs with forgotten/lost passwords, and it really does work.
What Should You Do If Your Email Account Has Been Hacked
By Tony Pirog - Posted: April 10, 2014
Just the thought of getting our email account hacked is enough to put most of us into a seriously dark mood. "They'll find out so much about me, know where I bank, get the email addresses of my friends and relatives, and on and on."
But, if you get hacked, don't dwell on the negatives for too long. The sooner you take some simple actions, the better.
Here are three simple steps you should follow:
1. Get into your email account ASAP and change your password
Log onto the website of your email provider and change your password. Make sure the new one is long and strong. Use a mixture of upper and lower cases, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols. Don't use real words or family names. The longer and more complex you make the password, the harder it will be for a hacker to break it.
2. Check all your online accounts
If you use your email account and the same password as the username and password for online accounts -- such as Amazon or Facebook or your banking -- change those accounts also to keep them synchronized, as well as for security..
3. Make sure you can access your email on all your devices
Make sure you can access your email in all your usual places, such as Outlook and Mac Mail, on your phone, tablet, and desktop. You will have to enter the new password on each device.
When Apple tells you your main logic board is bad
By Tony Pirog - Posted: August 2, 2013
Is the Apple Genius Bar telling you your logic board needs replacing? Do they want $1,400 for the repair? We may be able to save you $1,000! Please call us for a second opinion. You won't regret it.
My computer freezes and hesitates. What should I do?
By Tony Pirog - Posted: May 9, 2013
When a program on your computer seems to freeze, don't try to force things right away. Wait a few minutes. This happens to me at least once a week, despite the fact that I'm running on a beast of a computer that's kept in tip-top condition. Exactly that just happened to me today. I was trying to copy some text from a file, and everything went screwy. I couldn't save, I couldn't cancel, so I jumped on Facebook for 5 minutes, and when I went back to the frozen app, everything worked fine. I call these hiccups. The operating system gets confused for a bit, but rights itself after a while. It happens to most everyone regardless of how new or powerful their machine.
But it happens all the time!
If it happens often and you're forced to restart your computer, then you might consider bringing it in. These kinds of symptoms are usually an indication of a damaged hard drive, and could result in loss of data. Please don't wait until your hard drive crashes.
We've observed that MacOS is slow, clunky and cumbersome compared to Windows. Whenever we've installed Windows on a Mac, it ran much faster than MacOS. Unfortunately for Microsoft, even though Windows (and especially Windows 8) is clearly the vastly superior product in terms of speed, and because it's so widespread, the virus coders target it almost exclusively, and so, I persevered with MacOS for my daily email and web browsing.
Recently a customer had us install Ubuntu Linux on his computer and that got me thinking. So, I decided to install it on my Mac Mini. We were literally blown away by how much faster and smoother it is than MacOS! I have a 2009 Mac Mini with a Core 2 Duo processor, a Solid State Drive, and 8 GB of ram, yet Apple's OS was sluggish and, at times, unresponsive. Now I can feel the speed! No slow-downs, no freeze-ups, everything runs smoothly, and it's fast (unlike MacOS), which is what I expected from a computer with these specifications. I'm telling you Mac users, unless you have specialized software on your Mac that doesn't exist on Ubuntu, come to us and let us do you a favor by installing Ubuntu Linux on your machine. You WON'T regret it!
In fact, if you're a Windows user, and you want to avoid viruses, Ubuntu is 100% safe (unlike MacOS which is mostly safe), and we can even install your Microsoft Office and many other Windows apps in Ubuntu seamlessly! Even if you want to keep your Windows, don't worry you can have both. Perhaps you'd like us to install it on your machine? If so, we're your team. Call and ask for details.
Finally, don't forget we can repair computers from anywhere in the continental USA. You can currently ship anything that fits into a USPS medium flat rate box for under $11. If you have friends or relatives downstate, or in another state, please let them know. Why go to a local amateur or pay big box prices when shipping is so cheap?
Tony, David and Mike
A customer came to us looking to clean up his iTunes duplicates and rebuild his iTunes library. As we searched the web for answers, we found that no one seemed to have a good solution so we ended up figuring it out for ourselves.
What follows works on a PC, but we are confident the same technique can be used on a Mac.
Step by step instructions:
iTunes will now rescan your music folder and rebuild the iTunes library with your modified content.
That's it. You're done! Enjoy your music.
We just received an email from TECHNIBBLE (a web site chock full of great information for Computer Technicians) discussing computer (and computer peripheral) brands. They had asked their readers to tell them their opinions, and the results of the survey were presented.
People often ask us our opinion on which brand is best, so we thought this would be a good time to present a summary of the technibble results for non technicians, with our comments added (in blue).
Most Liked Hardware Brands:
- Lenovo/IBM - Enthusiastic agreement. “These computers are built to never break and they use the best quality parts. If you buy a Lenovo it's almost like buying a Mac as far as parts quality is concerned” – Dave
- ASUS - Interesting. We see very few, so we defer to our colleagues and endorse ASUS.
- Toshiba - Hard to believe. This is probably the second on our list of most repaired brands.
- Dell (mid-high priced stuff) - We definitely endorse the high end Dell machines.
- Western Digital Black (Most highly recommended)
- Western Digital other
- Epson – We love our Epson Workforce 600 All-In-One.
- Brother (Laser)
- HP (high end) - see below for why we do not recommend low-end HP's.
Most Hated Hardware Brands:
- HP/Compaq - No surprise there. This is number 1 on our list due to the sheer volume of HP's we consistently see needing repair.
- Sony- No surprise here either.
- Acer/Gateway/eMachines - Even though all made by Acer, we don't see many “Acer” brand machines. Gateway however tend to be problematical.
We rate HP number 1 on our “worst list,” followed by Gateway. We're not huge fans of the cheaper Dells either.
Brand Specific Comments:
- Open any Open Office App.
- Click on "Tools" and select "Options" from the dropdown.
- On the next screen, click on the "+" next to "Load/Save".
- Under "Load/Save" click on "General".
- Then on the right at the bottom of the pane, select the three document types (text, spreadsheet and presentation) and choose "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP", "Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP", and "Microsoft Powerpoint 97/2000/XP" respectively.
- Then, right above these, uncheck "Size optimization for ODF" and "Warn when not saving in ODF..."
- Finally, click on the OK button
- Boot the computer using the XP CD. You may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to access the BIOS and change the boot order.
- When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see the options below:
This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer:
To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.
To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.
- Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.
To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER. do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console). I repeat, do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R".
- Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.
- Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair. If Repair is not one of the options, END setup.
- Go to Start (windows orb in Vista, 7)
- Click on Accessories, and then Command Prompt
- Type "msconfig" and hit enter.
- Click on the "Startup" tab.
- Uncheck any programs you don't need. (If you don't recognize it, you probably don't need it.)
- Click the OK button.
- Reboot and you're done! Should speed things up a lot.
- Launch MSCONFIG by from the Run menu, or from a Command Prompt.
- Click on the Tools tab. Scroll down till you find "Disable UAC". Click on that line.
- Press the Launch button.
- A CMD window will open. When the command is done, you can close the window.
- Close MSCONFIG. You need to reboot the computer for changes to apply.
- Simple Windows 2000 style Search
- Disable the Windows XP tour
- Add "Copy To" and "Move To" to right mouse context menus
- Works in Vista and Windows 7 also
- Add useful options to right-click context menu of My Computer
- Works in Vista and Windows 7 also
- Unlocker (Added 10/8/09) - Delete un-deleteable files.
- Open Office - Who needs Microsoft office, when this is free and open source?
- CD Burner XP - Better, lighter and easier than Nero or Roxio. And free!
- 7 Zip for Windows and Linux - Better, lighter and easier than Winzip or WinRar. And free! (Google the 64 bit version for a 64 bit OS.)